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Jordan Klepper on the complexities of legal weed and the Klepper season one finale

Jordan Klepper
Photo: Comedy Central

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Thursday, June 20. All times are Eastern.

Top pick

Klepper (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m., first-season finale): The first season of Klepper, Jordan Klepper’s follow-up to his show The Opposition, has shown a lot of promise, told some important stories, and still managed to fit in some punchlines. Here’s how Dennis Perkins characterized it in his pre-air review:

And therein lies the conflict of Klepper, with the host easing his former frat boy gadfly persona into some new, more genuine directions. Especially once the second and third episodes see host and show venturing not only into some more legitimately dangerous waters, but also the more tonally perilous borderlands between his old on-screen role and something close to righteous anger

Now we’ve arrived at the finale, and it would seem that the host has decided to indulge in a little legalized recreational weed. But it’s not so simple, particularly where California’s social equity program is concerned. The A.V. Club spoke with Klepper about the finale, the optimum level of intoxication at which to watch the episode, and his other favorite shows about privileged white guys.


The A.V. Club: How would you recommend watching this episode: High, not high, or extremely high?

Jordan Klepper: Well, my baseline assumption is that people watching Comedy Central at 11:30 p.m. are already high. So I would suggest they sustain their high, with a slow tapering off toward sobriety by the end of the episode.


AVC: So, gradually level off so you can take it all in? That would be the reverse of your trajectory, in a way.

JK: Exactly. I want them to be super high at the beginning of it, but I want them to understand the gravity of the world around them by the end. So whatever gets them there. I’m guessing it’s some sort of Sativa. Maybe there’s some sort of reverse smoking game people could do. Whenever they see me not smoking, then they could maybe partake—legally, of course. And when they do, it’s time to put it down, pay attention, and write a congressperson.


AVC: What did you expect to find as you started looking into the social equity program? Did it surprise you?

JK: My assumptions about California and legal weed were pretty simplistic. Uh, even coming from New York, my initial assumptions were, “Oh, California has it figured out, they’re progressive,” and you quickly realize there are a lot of complications once you legalize marijuana. The equity program was one aspect that actually seems like a really interesting way of addressing the war on drugs. But like anything, when you look a little bit deeper, it gets much more complicated.


AVC: Having looked at California, do you have any thoughts on when we might be looking at federal legalization?

JK: A lot of people who are smarter than me have looked at this. But it seems to me that the trajectory of gay marriage showed that change can happen on a statewide level, and then eventually it tips on a federal level. That makes me think that in the next five years, we’re going to weigh in on it at the federal level. It will perhaps require an administration change, and an overall congressional change. But I imagine we’ll be dealing with this five years from now, because it turns out that marijuana is pretty darn popular across the board [both recreationally and medically]. But America moves slow, and that’s not just because half of America is stoned. Bureaucracy moves at the pace of a stoner.


AVC: What was your biggest takeaway from this episode?

JK: Six blunts and a couple edibles. Beyond that, I was inspired by what the equity program is attempting to do. It’s a progressive program. It’s attempting to deal with the ramifications of the war on drugs, attempting to give a leg up to people who were affected by over-policing, and people who spent time in prison because of a cannabis related crimes. It’s really attempting to address the grim realities. It ain’t perfect. It needs work. But I walked away with some cautious optimism.


AVC: You’ve spoken about how this show often addresses what you can do with your own privilege. So when people finish watching this episode, where should they turn next? Who’s your go-to privileged white guy on TV?

JK: Oh god, The Great British Bake Off. There’s no greater privilege than to sit in a tent and eat lovely pastries all day. No disrespect to Paul Hollywood, but come on, that’s a privilege we should all be able to enjoy.

Regular coverage

iZombie (The CW, 8 p.m.)

Wild card

Reef Break (ABC, 10 p.m., series premiere): There’s a real missed opportunity here. In Reef Break, Poppy Montgomery stars as Cat Chambers, a retired thief whose questionable past makes her the perfect person to help the cops catch crooks in her island-paradise hometown. To catch a thief, one must think like a thief, etc. Hijinks ensue.

Here’s our quibble: They couldn’t name the character something like Anastasia Reef?


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About the author

Allison Shoemaker

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves television, bourbon, and dramatically overanalyzing social interactions.